It happens to almost everyone at some point. On a bright, sunny day you head into the great outdoors. Maybe you don’t think of sunblock or maybe you just end up staying out longer than you intended to be soaking up the sun’s rays, but the end result is the same—tan lines. There are times when tan lines can look appealing, but this is certainly not the case with the unsightly sock tan. A ghostly white foot and a tan brown leg simply do not look good when they are both on the same person.
Mix ½ cup of baking soda with ¼ cup of warm water. Wash the tanned portion of your legs. Spread the baking soda paste over the affected area and gently rub it in, moving your fingers in small circles to remove any dead skin cells. Rinse with warm water and pat dry with a clean towel. This type of exfoliation will help to remove the tanned cells from the outermost layer of skin.
Pour a small amount of sunless tanner into the palm of your hand and apply it to the white portions of your skin. Spread a light coating of tanner evenly across the pale areas and massage your feet and lower legs until the tanner has soaked in.
Wait for the area to dry completely and then evaluate the results. Repeat the application, if necessary. Be aware that an exact match is probably unlikely, but the application of tanner can minimize the overall effect and make the sock tan much less noticeable.
Apply a small amount of tanner to the edges of the sock line and use the tip of the index finger to work the tanner into the skin, blending the cosmetic tan into the real one.
Use bronzer powder or foundation makeup to temporarily cover the pale area. Choose a shade that is a close match to your tanned skin rather than one that matches your normal skin tone. Brush bronzer lightly over the pale area with a fluffy makeup brush or apply foundation makeup with the tips of the fingers. Apply daily until the tan fades or until you are able to successfully tan the lower legs and feet.
Whenever possible, wear flip-flops to expose as much of the foot, ankle and lower leg to the sun. However, be sure to wear sunscreen to help minimize the damage caused by ultraviolet radiation.
Lisa Parris is a writer and former features editor of "The Caldwell County News." Her work has also appeared in the "Journal of Comparative Parasitology," "The Monterey County Herald" and "The Richmond Daily News." In 2012, Parris was honored with awards from the Missouri Press Association for best feature story, best feature series and best humor series.